You Got to Be Kidding Me!

IATF RFC (2)

Posted in Politics by Stacy McMahon on February 4, 2007

Here’s the first good response I’ve seen to Arnold Kling’s RFC. I wouldn’t say that I agree with the writer’s commentary on Kling’s list, but his alternative list is much tighter and, to my mind, works better as a statement of first principles. It’s internally consistent, with no obvious language-of-political-convenience. Most importantly, it’s simple. I particularly like the statement on foreign relations (emphasis added):

We further recognize that it is in the nature of free societies to extend the general scope of these rights and freedoms, and that it is in the nature of despotic regimes to extend the suppression of these rights and freedoms to the greatest possible extent. It is therefore an essential action of government to staunchly defend these rights and freedoms against despotic regimes, and to engage in peaceful coexistence or alliance with the free nations of world.

Edit: I’m just going to copy the entire list over here. Item #4 might rub some people the wrong way, but remember there can be a lot of different kinds of families. I don’t know whether the author of the list is ruling any of them out, but I’m not. Traditional, nontraditional, gay, straight, 2.3 kids or childless, even close groups of friends who make up for each other’s dysfunctional biological families, the point is that people are social animals and need their support group to maintain their humanity (if you’ve ever known someone who has no friends and isn’t close to their family, you know what I mean)

Ethical and Economic Principles

1. The free individual, by virtue of engaging in lawful commerce, contributes to the general good of society.

2. Lawful commerce in modern societies requires the fundamental right of ownership of private property; the ownership of private property in turn requires the freedom of economic contract and the freedom of association for invdividuals.

3. Goverment is essential to the preservation of individual rights. A government that engages in unjust seizure or supression of these rights; whether by outright confiscation or usurpation, excessive taxation, the unequal enforcement of the laws, coercion via the threat of retaliatory action, or by undermining the private institutions of society; has become a danger to the general liberty of its citizens.

4. The family in particular is an essential private institution necessary for the continuation of a free society.

5. We recognize that the rights and freedoms of the citizens of any one nation depend, in part, upon the rights and freedoms of the citizens of other nations of the world. We further recognize that it is in the nature of free societies to extend the general scope of these rights and freedoms, and that it is in the nature of despotic regimes to extend the suppression of these rights and freedoms to the greatest possible extent. It is therefore an essential action of government to staunchly defend these rights and freedoms against despotic regimes, and to engage in peaceful coexistence or alliance with the free nations of the world.

6. Ethical behavior, being derived from numerous sources of wisdom throughout the cultures and history of the world, requires the freedom of private opinion, the freedom of speech, and the freedom of religion for its fullest acceptance by the people.

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3 Responses

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  1. Clint said, on February 4, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    by definition, if someone had no family or friends, I probably wouldn’t know them 😀

  2. Stacy McMahon said, on February 4, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    Hehe, unless you dated them. That seems to be the social outlet of a lot of people with no friends. Fortunately you’re safe from that trap!

  3. Joseph said, on February 4, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    Hi Stacy,

    I changed “free nations of world” to “free nations of the world” in the original list. You can proofread something a million times and still end up with little mistakes like that.

    One of the motiviations of my list items was to make a list that was roughly as comprehensive as Kling’s original list while being more concise. So point #4 made it onto the list mostly for that reason.

    Joe


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